The Project for Privacy and Surveillance Accountability (PPSA) issued a press release this week. It begins:
Former U.S. Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) and former House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) are leading an effort by Demand Progress Education Fund (DPEF) and the Project for Privacy and Surveillance Accountability (PPSA) to compel the government to come clean about the legal basis for mass domestic surveillance of Americans in the absence of Congressional authorization.
“Our request follows months of efforts by Members of Congress and civil liberties organizations to get the government to explain on what authority the government bases domestic surveillance of U.S. persons,” said Bob Goodlatte, senior policy advisor to PPSA who joined with former Sen. Mark Udall to add their names to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request submitted today to the Department of Justice, FBI and other agencies.
Section 215, known as the “business records provision” of the PATRIOT Act (later amended and reauthorized by the USA FREEDOM Act), governed the warrantless surveillance of a wide range of personal information held by businesses. To acquire such sensitive records, all the FBI had to do was assert the data sought was relevant to a foreign intelligence investigation. With the expiration of Section 215 on March 15, Members of Congress and civil liberties organizations want to know the current legal basis for government surveillance.
Read more on PPSA. I would really encourage readers who are new to the issue of massive domestic surveillance of U.S. persons to read the entire announcement and follow some of the links to find out more. Are you really okay with the idea of the government buying huge databases with tons of personal information about you, like enriched voter databases? How about if they go and buy hacked databases from sites where people seek support for mental health, disability, or gender-identity related issues? Even if you’re “just curious” about how the government might justify such acquisitions or programs, find out more.
Thanks to Joe Cadillic for sending this one along.